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Examples of Minimalist Living

Updated on September 29, 2012

Minimalist living is living simply with the minimal amount of material possession and resources needed. And getting rid of the unnecessary. To many it will mean downsizing, de-cluttering, and re-prioritizing.

Minimalists tend to value time, peace, and happiness rather than money or material wealth. Non-possessiveness tends to be another character trait.

Whereas the modern urban individual are always busy, rushing to do more and in order to "keep up with the Jones", to move up the corporate ladder, to rise in social status in an never-ending rat race, the minimalists are at the other end of the spectrum.

They try to reduce and get rid of as much stuff as they can, keeping only the essentials. And by doing so, they find that they gain much more in non-tangible affects than they lose in material objects. Many will gain a sense of peace, freedom, and even happiness.

Here is some examples of minimalist living. It does have its appeal. See if there is anything that we can learn from their examples.

Peter Lawrence is the Happy Minimalist

Peter Lawrence calls himself "The Happy Minimalist" -- well, at least that is the title of his book.

By living well below his means for years -- meaning that he spends much less than he earns -- he was able to retire at age 40. Born and raised in Singapore, he holds a Bachelor degree in information technology and an MBA from an American university. Having worked as an manager for Hewlett-Packard, a large multinational hardware and software company, he left the corporate world behind -- valuing time over money.

He now focuses on developing his internal skills -- which based on the video below, one would guess is fitness and music.

The below video published on YouTube in September 2012 shows you how he lives now. As you can see, one can have a good quality of life with the minimalist lifestyle. You just have to redefine what is meant by quality. The video shows him playing a broken-string guitar and an electric keyboard.

He keeps fit using body weight exercises, but no gym or minimal equipment is need. Upper door frame is used for forward and backward holding pull-ups. Chair is used for reverse push-ups. He doesn't just do standard pushing, he does clapping push-up from the floor. For a guy that is 40 plus, this is more fit than a lot of people. See how still his yoga tree pose is.

When watching the video, the word that is the opposite of "pack rat" comes to mind -- minimalist. His room is practically empty. His walk-in closest is too big for his needs. His most expensive possession is a laptop computer with a projector to watch movies projected on the ceiling or wall.

In his book, he writes that ...

"Realize that more is not necessarily better. Beyond a certain point, "more" becomes detrimental."

He can fit his entire possession in one bag. But he says that the pinnacle of minimalist living is to be able to walk without any possession. The saying goes like this: "Everything that I own, I carry"

For any action, determine what is one's objective. Then ask what is the minimal resources needed to achieve that objective.

He may not have a bed, but he sleeps well. He has lived in monastery, but that does not mean his life is not rich with experiences. He has bungee-jumped in New Zealand, sky dived in Australia, and ridden a camel to the Great Pyramids.

Leo Babauta writes "The Simple Guide a Minimalist Life"

Leo Babauta is the author of The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life in which he says that a minimalist life is ...

"one that is stripped of the unnecessary, to make room for that which gives you joy"

He is deeply satisfied at calling himself a "minimalist" in which he "wake in the morning in a room that lacks clutter, in the quite of the early morning..."

(Sounds familiar? Look at Peter Lawrence's room in the above video.)

Babauta also wrote the book titled The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential..."

The nice subtitle that sums it up: "The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential"

And an art it is. Not everyone can live a minimalist lifestyle. And those who attempt it may find it difficult at first, after having been accustomed to the "more is better" mentality.

Babauta provides five guiding principles in his book ...

  1. Omit needless things
  2. Identify the essential
  3. Make everything count
  4. Fill your life with joy
  5. Edit, Edit

In the book, Babuta wrote ...

"Only a few years ago, I was over my head in debt, with a work schedule that rarely allowed me to see my family and had me stressed to maximum levels every day. I was overweight and unhealthy ... I was unhappy at work and going nowhere fast. My life was complicated, and I didn't have time for the things I loved."

We are reminded of the Chinese philosopher Confucius words: “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

Babuta decided to simplify his life. He made healthy and positive changes to his life.

He quit his day job and now works from home blogging at which he says is about "finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives". By the way, he has released all the content on ZenHabits as "uncopyrighted".[reference]

A common trait that found among people who practice minimalists lifestyles are unpossessiveness and non-attachment. They seem to have transcended material possessions. Kind of "zen-like".

The book Zen To Done is among Babauta's other e-Books.

Happier with Less

Becoming a minimalist might in some cases mean giving up some possession and some money. But what is wrong with that? Many people are able to find greater happiness with less money.

Although Michael Gates Gill might not call himself a minimalist, he is an example of how it is possible to be happy despite having to downsized dramatically. Michael Gates Gill was making a lot of money in the corporate world as an advertisement executive when he was laid off. He eventually went to work at Starbucks as a barista serving coffee.

In his book How Starbucks Saved My Life, he said that he made less money but enjoyed his life more and is happier than when he was an executive. Obviously, Starbucks does not pay Michael the same salary as his executive position. But being happy is what counts.

You can hear Michael Gates Gill tell his story at Google in the below video ...

Bill happier with less

The theme of happier with less is not uncommon. In the below video, Bill (another writer on HubPages) will tell you how much he used to make and how much less he makes now. But you know what? He is happier now when he is making less money. Because he realizes that there is no need for "stuff". Bill does not own a TV and is thinking about getting rid of his car.

Bill writes more about simplistic living on HubPages.


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    • Louisa Rogers profile image

      Louisa Rogers 5 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      This was a good explanation of the minimalism trend. I'm something of a minimalist naturally, but I never turned it into an empire like Leo Batista and other well-known bloggers have. I confess I sometimes get annoyed that people "discover" something that many of just naturally did without making a big deal about it!

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      Minimalistic lifestyle is a spectrum. You can do a little or a lot. No need to be as extreme as the examples shown in the article. But we can aim for that direction.

    • beth811 profile image

      beth811 5 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      How I love to be one because it gives us peace of mind, but with kids around the house I couldn’t deny them of their wants for as long as the spending is within our means. Maybe when my children have families of their own that will be the time that I and my husband will practice a minimalist life.

      Rated up. Useful

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      Having meaningful possessions is good as long as we live within our means.

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Interesting Hub. Some possessions do bring me joy, such as our home in the mountains and my car, (it's old but I love it). We don't get into debt in order to gain more possessions. If we can't afford it then we don't buy it. Our life together is what brings us most joy. Loved reading your Hub. Voted up. Thank you

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      Thanks for all the feedback and voting up.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great hub and a growing trend to less possessions and a better life, well done !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you my friend; I'm happy that you are using my video and I appreciate the plug. Great hub with a message all should read and internalize. Wonderful job!

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      This is a good list of resources for people who are contemplating making life simpler. For many, it will be a forced circumstance in this economy, and it will be good for people to see that it is possible and positive. Voted up and sharing.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      This would be a perfect existence. However, at this point in life probably not doable (by choice) However if we had to really cut back most of us would find ways to survive just fine. Separating wants from needs is the first step. Great hub...Voted UP.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 5 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      Living a simpler life seems to be a trend, and one I think is very healthy. I've always thought that we focus too much on material possessions. Good hub!